Released: 7th June
Seen: 24th July
On this blog I have been almost gleeful in tearing apart the 50 Shades of Grey franchise and just about anything that looks like it. I put the last two films in the franchise on my worst lists for 2017 and 2018, Freed was actually my worst film of 2018 and I stand by that ranking. It’s obvious rip-off After was also on the worst list in 2019 and the attempted tie in movie Book Club only missed out being put on the list because it was the only film that hired people who could act. In general I’ve found this franchise to be one of the worst things to happen to culture in recent years due to its romanticisingof rape and misrepresentation of BDSM, along with just generally bad writing. I genuinely thought that someone couldn’t come up with a worse attempt at a romantic plotline… and I guess the writers of 365 Days heard that and went “Challenge accepted” because oh boy, OH BOY!
365 Days is a reprehensible garbagefest of a movie passing itself off as an erotic romance which follows Mafia boss and scumbag Massimo Torricelli (Michele Morrone). Massimo is an asshole who witnesses his father, the previous mafia boss, die and so he becomes the boss which means no one tells him what to do and he just takes what he wants. When he sees Laura Biel (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) he decides he wants her so he kidnaps her and tells her that she is to stay with him for 365 days and if she hasn’t fallen in love with him by the end of that, he’ll let her go.
Laura, being nothing more than a prop that occasionally reacts to outside stimuli, makes one vain attempt to escape but he lightly holds her arm so she can’t and since she doesn’t think to do the rational thing by finding a large pointy thing and jamming it into his face, she ends up going along with it and having cute montages where she spends his money and buys skimpy outfits and occasionally remembers “Oh right, I’ve been kidnapped, I should maybe try to run” until eventually the magic of penis makes her fall in love with him because of course it does. Did I mention this is all rape and assault and there is nothing romantic about this no matter how many slow songs they get the lead actor to perform on the soundtrack.
For one moment let’s push aside the moral problems with 365 Days and focus on the technical problems. 365 Days is a badly written film on every level. The dialogue is objectively awful, this isn’t a lost in translation issue but a “this is not how human beings talk” issue. This isn’t how anyone would react in this situation no matter how hot everyone involved is. It’s kind of stunning how soon after the kidnapping and legitimate rape threats our lead character is doing cheesy flirty banter with her kidnapper (who, I believe I’ve made this clear, is a kidnapping rapist and no amount of puppy dog eyes or abs makes that OK). There are porno films about pizza delivery men that have more realistic and engaging dialogue and story structure than this film.
Hell, the structure of 365 Days is one of the most comical elements to it. For a solid hour of the film, it goes 10-minute bullshit scene, followed by a 4-minute montage over a song sung by discount Chad Kroeger (oh wait, sorry, that’s the leading man doing the singing… and he sounds like a discount Chad Kroeger) and then back for more bullshit. Some of the transitions between dialogue and song are hilarious to the point of making it impossible not to laugh. I don’t think they were trying to be funny, but those moments where they abruptly go between song and dialogue is genuinely comical. None of the actual scenes matter, it’s always some variant of Massimo saying that he’s a big tough man with a magic penis who will put it in Laura eventually while Laura gives some withering put down… until they get bored and flip the magic switch and then the dialogue is irrelevant and the montages are various sex positions.
It’s very clear what they’re going for, it’s a 50 Shades of Grey style romance. It’s Beauty and the Beast, it’s forbidden romance between two people who go through adversity. They start out hating each other, they fall in love. It’s a classic story that’s worked before so why doesn’t it here? Well… cos Belle and Anastasia both decided to take part in the respective relationships in those novels, Laura doesn’t. I may hate 50 Shades, I can’t deny that Anastasia didn’t actively try to chase after Grey at first. Both stories have the key element of the relationship only actually turning romantic when the male character shows some kind of serious growth and changes as a person, 365 Days just has to happen cos Massimo doesn’t want his new toy to drown and cos… I don’t know, magic dick, that’s the best I’ve got.
Oh, did I mention that this kidnapping-based relationship goes from “He kidnaps her” to “She loves him and will marry him and have his baby” within two months? Cos trying to make it actually take a year and potentially trying to earn this outcome would be too hard. It’s not like we could actually use the premise properly and have them slowly come together over the course of a year, get to know each other as people instead of as glorified sex toys, maybe even hold back on them having sex until day 365 and make them earn the progression… nah, fuck that, time is money so let’s just rush through this because the quicker we get through this the sooner we can all go home.
That’s the shocking thing here, I’m not even saying that this concept couldn’t work. You can have a story with a reprehensible lead and have them slowly change over the course of the narrative. It’s absolutely possible but 365 Days is so focussed on running around and screaming “Look how sexy we are! SEXY SEXY SEXY SEX!” that it doesn’t even try to handle the actual hard work of character growth that might make it palatable as a film. Hell, maybe if they worked on building character then the sudden sad ending they try to pull off would have an impact. Nope, let’s just focus on the sex because we’re apparently making a porno that we can sneak onto Netflix, except at least porno has the common decency to be interesting.
Even the sex scenes in 365 Days aren’t that interesting, I honestly just ended up skipping them near the end because I was getting exhausted with them. I certainly can admit that this film pushes further than 50 Shades did, this film actually showed genitalia of the male lead as well as the female lead so congrats on being a little different but combining the violent nature of some of the sex scenes, the blaring bad music and the editing and shot choices, it can’t even get the erotic part right. It just feels wrong because the narrative is wrong, it’s basically saying that he sexually tormented her until her brain broke and she craved his dick which isn’t goddamn romantic, it’s just not.
I almost feel bad for the actors, it’s not that they’re bad but they just have bad dialogue to say and bad characters to play. They were fighting a losing battle from the start and you can almost see them trying to make something happen. Michele Morrone is clearly trying his hardest to ooze all the sexual dominant appeal he can muster while Anna-Maria Sieklucka has moments where you can see her trying to out dominate him but they’ve both got nothing to work with in the script so their attempts are for nought.
There is nothing about 365 Days to recommend. It’s visually uninteresting and morally repellent. If you want to watch attractive people have sex, open a new tab and go to pornhub and have a good time there because this isn’t worth it. Is it the worst film I’ve seen in my life? No, Loqueesha still exists and this wishes it was that tasteless. It’s certainly a frontrunner for the worst film I’ve seen this year and really, 365 Days is almost the perfect representative for 2020… it starts out bad, gets progressively worse as time goes on and at the end of it everyone feels like they got really badly fucked. For the love of god people, just watch actual goddamn porn instead of this pathetic piece of crap.